“The Keys of Marinus”

Season 1 Serial Five

Reviewed by Tom-Tom


Here, unfortunately we must skip Serial Four Marco Polo as it was scrapped by the BBC. I just don’t have the imagination to listen to the soundtrack while staring at unmoving screen shots and try to piece things together. It wouldn’t make for a balanced review as the lack of moving pictures would deter from qualifying the serial. So we move on to Serial Five

The crew of the Tardis arrive in good spirits on an alien world all spiky with glass on the beach. Soon, the place is seen to be quite dangerous as Susan’s slipper melts in the water, which is actually acid. Three glass submarines arrive and strange looking creatures in wetsuits with webbed hands and feet saunter out the way people with flippers do save for one whose holey wetsuit resulted in his own disintegration. Creepy stuff. The plot thickens as Susan, reliable as always, gets lost and forces the others to pursue her to a mysterious temple made out of sheer slabs of stone. Revolving walls swallow both wetsuit and companion alike in a very well done sequence leaving Barbara, the last to be swallowed, calling into the empty air, which is always a bit spooky. Thus begins “The Keys of Marinus,” perhaps the most versatile and straightforward of the Doctor’s adventures in the the first season. It is a sort of Gulliver’s Travels trip hopping from island to island which are all different from Roman-like ruins to living jungles to icy landscapes and back. The mission is very clear, return the Keys of Marinus which will restore order in the land. The clear nature of the serial, which enters a different one of the islands in each episode, is a fun bunch of tales in which an opinion on society is presented. The excitement of seeing what the next island will be like and what dangers the crew of the TARDIS will find there make this serial an immensely enjoyable adventure. There are deep questions concerning free will and the use of science to alter one’s destiny. Even the Doctor seems to enjoy himself a bit tackling the issues and the various adventures which is a rare sight to see this early in the series.


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